Lucie Loves… London with the grandparents // A proper mash-up: Borough Market, Tower of London, Crown & Shuttle and Pizza East
My nan and grandad drove down to London to stay with me and JMG for the weekend at our little flat in West London. I wanted to take them on a bit of a whistle stop tour of ‘London as we live it’.
I’d really wanted to take them for coffee at Monmouth, but as per usual, the queue was already backed up right around the block. It was quite a chilly morning, and I wanted to get us all seated indoors quickly, so decided to try next door, the Gelateria 3Bis. Bad move. Ok, so I can’t comment on the quality of their Gelato - which looked amazing! But, for Italians and those of us who pride themselves in an Espresso-a-day mentality and great coffee - their coffee was atrocious!! I’d ordered four cafe latte and was presented with what looked and tasted like the weakest coffee known to [wo]man. A shamefully shoddy beverage.
But, being British, I didn’t complain. I just accepted the fact that I should’ve been a little bit more patient and waited in line for Monmouth - they never fail to deliver!
After Borough, we decided to check out the Tower of London. My nan and grandad first visited the Tower a few years ago and, being big fans of anything history-focused, they were keen to take me and JMG, so that we could experience it for ourselves.
And what an experience it was! After all, who knew that the Tower of London is actually home to twenty different towers?!? They kept that one quiet!
Tickets are quite pricey, at just over £20 per adult, but we weren’t disappointed. On arriving, we joined a group of tourists about to embark on a tour of the Tower - led by one of the Beefeaters, also known as a Yeoman Warder. Did you know the Beefeaters actually live in the Tower too, with their families, with the Tower’s famous ravens?
Our guide, on introducing himself, mentioned that this was to be the second tour of the day, with one more to go before he retired from the Tower forever.
The sun shone, as we listened intently to his historic Tower tales of a very ghoulish nature. There is something quite special about rediscovering the past in the exact spot where history itself was made. We learned of Henry VIII’s wife, Queen Anne Boleyn (1536), whose remains were initially placed into an unmarked grave, but are now underneath the marble floor of the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, along with Lady Jane Grey (1554), who was just 17 years old when she too was beheaded at the Tower.
Queens of England, are just a few of the fascinating figures in history that were held as prisoners. The severed heads of some of the unfortunate souls were often paraded around on sticks, through the city of London, as a warning to other ne'er do wells.
After our tour, we gaped in awe at ample armoury collection - chuckling at the sight of Henry VIII’s generously protected package - ahem! We salivated over the stunning collection of Crown Jewels, part of the Royal Collection, and the newly refurbished by De Beers, Jewel House.
After taking in all manner of British history, we needed a drink! We made our way to a great little east London pub that serves a decent selection of beers and ciders - the Crown and Shuttle. Apparently, back in the day, it used to be a strip club?! What a place to take my grandparents, eh?
We worked up an appetite drinking pints of Sharp’s Orchard Cider and dirty beer. My nan was so funny. She turned to my grandad, wide-eyed, and said: “Eh Eck! To think all of this is going on on a Saturday afternoon, when we’re stood in our kitchen making soup!?”
We then took our appetites to Pizza East, tucking into some very tasty olives, meatballs, and garlic bread starters and then shared a couple of pizzas. The whisky-based Honeyberry Smash cocktail paired with the sausage meat and broccoli pizza is one of my all time favourite things to eat!
And so, we came to the end of a blooming’ great day in the capital.
Exhausted after all the walking around, we plonked ourselves on the sofa, with just enough energy, to give my grandparents an introduction to the masterpiece that is Breaking Bad.
Unfortunately, we forgot all about the really awkward sex scene that takes place between Walter and his wife Skyler until it was too late… Thankfully, my nan and grandad have a very good sense of humour and just laughed!
Photography © Lucie Kerley